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West Side Lumber Company Railroad Faded Glory Shirt

West Side Lumber Company Railroad Faded Glory Shirt


 West Side Lumber Company Railroad Faded Glory Shirt

  • Printed on Front
  • 100% Cotton Comfort Color
  • Shirt Color - Khaki

On May 31st 1898, The West Side Flume & Lumber Company was formed when William H. Crocker, Henry J. Crocker, Andre Poniatowski, Thomas Bullock and Charles Gardner bought 55,000 acres of timber just outside of present day Tuolumne (Then called "Carter's"). A small mill was constructed in Carter's, and a small railroad stretched out 10 miles east into the woods to Nashton.

Although most of the timber logged in the first years went straight to the building of the saw mill, by 1900 there was enough timber being brought into keep the mill going year round even though the railroad shut down during the winter. In 1900 the West Side Flume & Lumber Co. incorporated their railroad as a common carrier, the Hetch Hetchy and Yosemite Valley hoping to offer passenger service to the Hetch Hetchy valley on to Yosemite National Park. Passenger trains were operated twice weekly and later three times weekly. Ridership on the line was low with the primary riders being employees of the company.
In 1903 the operation was sold to W. R. Thorsten of Michigan and the corporate name was shortened to the West Side Lumber Co. In 1904 the railroad gave up on passenger service focusing on its growing lumber.

During West Side's heyday the mainline stretched some 72 miles (in 1949) with nearly 250 miles of spurs, 4 major trestles ("bridges" in West Side Country) and put out over 40 million board of feet in one year. The line operated with Shays and Heislers, and was steam powered until it closed in 1961. The West Side's last operating season was 1960, when the summer logging season ended in the fall the equipment was positioned in expection of another season starting in the Spring. Empty log cars were left in the woods, and the engines recieved normal winter maintenance. Then rather suddenly, the company announced that it would be cheaper to use contract trucks to haul the logs. In June 1961 one train was run in the woods to haul the empties to the mill, and the railroad was put on standby, to see how well the trucks worked. The logging railroad never ran again.

After closure there were several attempts to operate the railroad as a tourist line. The most famous of these was by Glen Bell, the founder of Taco Bell. Bell laid track around the mill property and converted most of the remaining mill site into a historic attraction, steam powered trains operated around the mill site while a gasoline powered motorcar ran trains out to the River Bridge site. However when these efforts failed the WS was sold off to various investors over the years, the remaining mill site property is currently owned by the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, of the Tuolumne Rancheria. Equipment from the West Side survives through out the country primarily on tourist railroads such as the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine, Roaring Camp, the Midwest Central and the Colorado Railroad Museum.

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